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Research Help Guide: Primary and Secondary Sources

What are Primary Sources (Video)

From CSU Pueblo University Library (Closed Captioned)

Primary vs Secondary Sources (Video)

University of Victoria Library (Closed Captioned)

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Quick Summary: Primary Sources

Primary sources are works created at the time of an event, or by a person who directly experienced an event.

These can be:

  • Interviews, diaries, letters, journals, speeches, autobiographies, witness statements, newspapers from the event

 

More Information:

Primary Sources (In Depth)

Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) and Scholarly Articles

Evaluate your Sources

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

For certain assignments you might be asked to use primary sources. Primary sources are works created at the time of an event, or by a person who directly experienced an event.

It is the content that matters and an on-line source can still be a primary source. For example, an online copy of a newspaper from May 8, 1945, is still a primary source even though the original article has been digitized.

Primary sources can include:

  • Interviews, diaries, letters, journals, speeches, autobiographies, and witness statements
  • Original hand-written manuscripts
  • Government documents and public records
  • Art, photographs, films, maps, fiction, and music
  • Newspaper and magazine clippings
  • Artifacts, buildings, furniture, and clothing

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are works that are written after the original event or experience; they provide criticism or interpretation of the event or experience.

Some examples of secondary sources are:

  • Textbooks
  • Biographies
  • Historical films, music, and art
  • Articles about people and events from the past